Alderson thing

Notes from the Sandy Alderson press conference

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The Mets just introduced Sandy Alderson as their new general manager a short while ago. A few items of interest…

  • It’s true, Alderson slipped up and began to say Oakland when describing the Mets’ GM job as the “best job in baseball.” A rough start, but it didn’t take him long to melt my nerd heart.
  • When describing his own personal philosophy, Alderson said: “The mathematics, I don’t believe, lie.” He believes metrics like on-base percentage and slugging are important in valuing a player. Also places an emphasis on speed and power. *ears perking up*
  • In talking about the team’s farm system, Alderson views the Mets somewhere in the middle of the pack. He doesn’t believe a large-market team like the Mets should ever be in the middle of the pack in player development. I wonder if his relationship with the commissioner’s office may influence his willingness to go overslot in the draft, but I sure hope there are at least some changes there.
  • Alderson said he has no plans “in the immediate future” to change the dimensions of Citi Field.
  • In regards to hiring a new manager, Alderson specifically said he wasn’t opposed to a “fiery” manager, reflecting the emotions of the fanbase, but also wants a manager to be analytical and intuitive. While he wants this person to have a independence on the field, that individual must also reflect the general philosophy of the organization. In other words, while Wally Backman may get an interview, don’t look for Bobby V to return. Knowing Sandy, that is to be expected.
  • Responding to a question about some of the dead weight on the roster — specifically Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo — Alderson said that in some instances he will make decisions, in others he will make recommendations (to ownership). He also isn’t willing to write off any asset just because of public opinion.
  • When asked if 2011 will be a “caretaker year,” Alderson said he plans to put the best possible team on the field, even with the limited payroll flexibility. He hopes to put the Mets in the position where they can be aggressive in the market every offseason, but doesn’t see that happening this winter.

There’s a lot to digest here, but my first impression is a very positive one. Alderson came across as very intelligent, thoughtful and frankly, inspiring. Mets fans have become cynical over the past few seasons, but there’s a real reason for optimism about the team’s long-term plan this afternoon.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
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Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.

Report: White Sox, Nationals making “strong progress” on a Chris Sale deal

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox deliivers the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the White Sox and Nationals are making “strong progress” on a trade involving ace Chris Sale. Most reports coming out on Monday night suggest that a deal isn’t likely to be consummated until Tuesday at the earliest.

Sale, 27, has pitched in the majors over parts of seven seasons. He owns a career 74-50 record with a 3.00 ERA and a 1,244/260 K/BB ratio in 1,110 innings. The lefty will earn $12 million in 2017, then has a club option for 2018 worth $12.5 million with a $1 million buyout as well as a 2019 club option worth $13.5 million with a $1 million buyout. Relative to what he would earn if he were a free agent today, Sale’s remaining salary is a bargain.

The Nationals would likely have to part with several of their top prospects. MLB Pipeline lists pitcher Lucas Giolito, outfielder Victor Robles, and pitcher Reynoldo Lopez in the club’s top-three.

Adding Sale would arguably give the Nationals claim to the best starting rotation in baseball as he would join 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

There are other teams in the mix for Sale. The Red Sox and Astros have also talked with the White Sox about the lefty’s services.